Chinese rally against crime
Thousands of Chinese immigrants took to the streets of Rome on Tuesday to protest at a lack of security in the capital following the murder of a Chinese man and his baby last week. Tearful demonstrators held up white candles and flowers in the march to the crime scene, which was organized by the Chinese community. “People are exasperated,” said one organizer, Lucia King, who put the number of demonstrators in the immigrant-heavy Piazza Vittorio neighborhood at about 10,000. “Some people have been robbed or mugged six or seven times.”
One killed in stampede
Women screamed, but the crowd of South Africans desperate for a chance to study kept pushing at the university gate. The stampede killed a mother who had accompanied her son to an in-person application day at the Johannesburg campus, and two other people were seriously injured, officials said. Thousands of young people and their parents had begun gathering at the University of Johannesburg campus on Monday to seek admission. Space was limited— about 11,000 people were expected to vie for as few as 800 spots — a symptom of a larger crisis in education and perhaps contributing to a sense of desperation on Tuesday. Desmond Mlangu, a prospective student, said he witnessed the “traumatizing” scene, with women screaming and people continuing to push. He said those at the back of the crowd did not seem to realize what was happening at the gate.
Scots to vote on leaving UK
Prime Minister David Cameron’s government confirmed on Tuesday it would sweep away legal hurdles to allow the Scots a vote on whether their country should become independent for the first time since the 18th Century Act of Union, which united Scotland with England to create Great Britain. However, in return, Cameron — who opposes any breakup of the UK — is urging Scotland to make its intentions clear “sooner rather than later.” He claims investors are becoming increasingly wary of Scottish leader Alex Salmond’s plans to delay a vote for several years, damaging Britain’s economy.
Hundreds more killed
An estimated 400 people have been killed since an Arab League mission arrived in the country to monitor the uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, UN political chief B. Lynn Pascoe said on Tuesday. Pascoe provided the latest figures in a closed-door report to the 15-member UN Security Council on the Syrian uprising that has already claimed more than 5,000 lives since it began almost 10 months ago, diplomats said. US Ambassador Susan Rice said the rate of killings, an average of 40 a day, was even higher than before the monitors arrived.
Opposition plan large rally
Opposition groups on Tuesday said they would hold a rally near the Kremlin next month, stepping up pressure on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin over a controversial election win by his party. Putin has already faced large opposition protests against his 12-year rule following the Dec. 4 parliamentary vote, which protesters and international observers said was marred by violations and fraud. Liberal opposition leader Vladimir Ryzhkov said protesters would apply for permission to hold rallies in Moscow and other Russian cities on Feb. 4.
Aggressive official demoted
A customs official has been demoted over a YouTube video that shows him hitting an airport security officer while refusing to be patted down. Footage from a surveillance camera at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport shows the official striding through a security check, fiercely objecting to being searched and then whacking the officer’s ears. The official then pointed to his badge and the junior officer bowed apologetically. The video has a Sunday time stamp and was posted on Monday. By Tuesday it had attracted more than 5,000 angry comments. Customs Department Director-General Somchai Poolsavasdi said the official had been transferred to an office job during an investigation into his “distressing” behavior. The department released only the official’s first name, Sombat.